Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Look

(Disclaimer: Kinda lengthy and some may find this post sad. My hope is that most will find it liberating; especially young moms who read.)

Have you ever been the recipient of someone's "Look of Disappointment"? You know, the look that says, "Was that the best you could do? I really expected more from you." This look is often followed by the "disappointed head-shake" and sometimes even the "disappointed tongue-click".

I dare say we've nearly all experienced the look from someone in our lives: sibling, spouse, friend, child, co-worker, parent, boss, etc.

And if you know the individual well, you can even get the look without the person being anywhere near you! Voice mail and e-mail serve as carriers of the look with alarming clarity!

When the girls were little, I feared the look terribly. I would stay up late into the night prior to Easter almost every year. There were baskets to prepare and hide. Socks to locate. Little white purses and shoes had scuff marks that needed removing if they were going to look brand new. Sometimes a dress needed hemming or a bow needed making.

(Please understand that most often, Frank was right in the middle of the preparations with me. But any fear of the look seemed to be mine alone.)

Because we loved Easter so much and wanted our girls to understand the significance of Resurrection Sunday, we went to great lengths to celebrate. But none of that could start until the day before Easter.

You see, each year found us very involved in every aspect of planning Resurrection Sunday for an entire congregation as well.

Oddly, the look never came to me from the little girls I wanted most to prepare for. As I think back, it didn't matter how grand and glorious nor feeble and faltering my efforts - the girls were always delighted. For them, the celebration was perfect just as it was. Whatever it was!
  • I remember inedible Easter eggs that weren't fully cooked before the dying process.
  • I remember hats that kept slipping because I hadn't properly tested them.
  • I remember a dress that was missing a slip. (Pretty important for a young lady.)
  • I remember baskets with more grass than candy.
  • I remember a camera with too little film resulting in un-captured moments.
  • I remember an unlimited number of other failures qualifying me for the look.
But if you ask our daughters today, they don't remember any of that.

(I had hoped to grow out of any concern over the look. Hasn't happened just yet; but then, I'm only 52! Smile.)

In the past 24 hours I've experienced the look several times from:
  • A guy on the interstate who thought I was traveling too slowly.
  • A pastor friend who needed an email response.
  • A church friend who expected a return phone call.
  • A family member who needed help.
  • A parent who wanted information yesterday!
As I sat quietly pondering for a few moments, (which being interpreted means:crying) I was reminded of the time Jesus gave someone the look.

Remember? It's recorded in the story of the Passion. At the last supper, Peter boldly declared what he expected of himself, "I'll die with you!"

Jesus prophesied what would really take place, "Ah, Peter. Before the rooster crows in the morning, you'll deny you even know me; not once, but three times."

"NEVER!" Peter was adamant!

But sure enough, the moment came and Peter fell miserably short of the bar he had set for himself.

Scripture and artwork alike record for us the moment that Jesus made eye contact with Peter. The moment of the ultimate look! Such shame. Such disgrace. Such sorrow.

But while thinking on that this morning (and drying my own tears of embarrassment) I felt the Lord whisper a new perspective to my heart.

That look wasn't one of disappointment. It was a look of compassion.

Jesus hadn't asked Peter to die with him. He just asked him to stay awake and help pray. Only Peter had expectations of himself that weren't realistic.

So when Jesus looked his way, Peter sensed disappointment instead of the compassion Christ was offering. "I know you're just a normal human being, Peter. Don't try to live beyond my grace."

(In later years, Peter actually did die as a martyr for the cause of Christ. But by then he understood the difference between "Grace" and trying to be "Super Human".)

Perhaps your Easter celebrations would be better served if you simply looked up into the face of the Risen Savior and saw His look of compassion - not disappointment.

If the plans aren't perfect, ease up on yourself. Lower the bar of expectation just a little bit. Give yourself the opportunity to celebrate too! Embrace the Grace!!

This Easter Sunday, I'm going to believe that others are looking at me with compassion instead of judgment. Appreciation not aggravation. Delight not disappointment.

At least.........I'm gonna try. Let me know how it goes for you.

And until then, "Here's lookin' at you, kid!" Smile.

1 comment:

  1. Such a good post, Sheri. Seems like I've spent most of my life trying to do everything I can to make sure I don't receive "The Look". I hate that awful feeling of not quite measuring up to somebody's standards. At your timely suggestion, I will spend this Easter focusing on Christ's look of comapassion and understanding and what He has done for me and not on men's fickle looks of approval or disapproval.

    You are a blessing--have a joyous Easter!